Sun, 29 May 2022

Different Types of Waves Every Surfer Should Know

25 Jan 2022, 20:02 GMT+10

When you are learning about surfing, you must recognize and understand the different waves out there. Keep in mind that not all waves are suitable to all surfers as it ranges according to their surfing capability and ability.

Every surfer or individual who wants to learn, dreams to catch a massive wave at some point in their life. Waves are usually formed with low-pressure weather systems in the middle of the ocean. The ripple-type motion travels for hundreds of miles before it reaches the shore.

Waves form and arrive in groups or sets that come in different sizes and shapes. Each surf spot has different forms of waves that can be both exciting and disappointing at the same time. All surf beaches face long flat spells, closeouts, or even long line-ups which can affect your surfing experience. Learn how to make the most of your surf break, see here

The ocean can be a dangerous place so, in this article, we will explore some of the types of waves that you might encounter when visiting the beach:

Beach Breaks

Beach breaks are the most common and popular type of waves that usually break over sandy bottoms. These mellow and smooth waves are perfect for beginner surfers as it allows them to practice their surfing skills.

Some beaches are known to produce consistent beach breaks while certain breaks can disappear in a matter of days. Depending on the time of the year and weather conditions these waves can be gentle and long or hollow and powerful.

Reef Breaks

Reef breaks are normally formed when over a rocky bottom, coral seabeds, or even coral reefs. These kinds of waves are very common in tropical surf destinations and best suited for advanced or experienced surfers. The obstruction at the bottom of the sea helps create unpredictable and beautiful waves.

One of the reasons why these kinds of breaks are dangerous for beginner surfers is because they are powerful tubing waves in shallow waters. Several razor-sharp areas underneath these waves can do a lot of harm to surfers who are unable to navigate through them.

Point Breaks

Point breaks are swells that form over sand or rock beside a headlock that peel to the left or right in a perpendicular or oblique angle. The waves near the shore are often great for beginners while the breaks that occur further into the ocean are more suitable to advanced surfers.

They usually create long consistent waves where surfers can practice different skills and techniques while on the water. Some of the most popular waves are in Malibu, Bells beach, and so on. These waves are pretty predictable. Make sure that you learn to understand and recognize these swells as it allows you to become a better surfer.

Rivermouth Waves

One of the rarest types of waves out there is the rivermouth waves which are loved by all kinds of surfers in the world. These waves are usually formed where river deposits sand and peel into waves predictably and smoothly.

These sheet-like wave flows are fast and fun to ride. They are usually formed near the mouth of a river or under the bridge and the most popular river mouth wave is located in Spain that is permanent.

Artificial Breaks

Lastly on this list is artificial breaks that are the most predictable and controllable because they are man-made waves. Even though it is not a real wave it is created in a controlled environment where the power, size of the wave, and even the flow of the wave allow individuals to have a realistic surfing experience.

There are two types of waves produced by these man-made machines which are peeling and standing waves. A standing wave is where the wave is steady and consistent that gives surfers an endless ride, whereas peeling breaks are short-term that last anywhere from 30-60 seconds.


These are just some of the most popular wave breaks out there that are enjoyed by surfers of all capabilities. Before you surf any of these waves be aware of your surfing abilities or else riding these waves can lead to injuries. Also, make sure that you have equipped yourself with all your surfing gear so that you are not unprepared when in the water.

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